Real Madrid striker Joselu may not have started the 2023-24 season with the prominence he hoped for, but things have fallen into place for the Spaniard in recent weeks.
The veteran provided the late assist for Jude Bellingham’s winner against Celta Vigo last month before scoring a crucial goal against Getafe to bring his side level. Now, he has carried that form to the international setup.
A special night against Cyprus
Joselu played just 18 minutes in Spain’s first game of the international break. However, Luis de la Fuente handed him 45 minutes against Cyprus last night and he did not disappoint.
25 minutes after coming on, the Real Madrid star scored a stunning goal from Dani Carvajal’s assist before himself assisting Alex Baena for the team’s fifth.
Speaking after the game, Joselu reflected on him having scored four goals in his last six games for La Roja, saying (h/t Mundo Deportivo):
“I am very happy because they are goals that serve to add and achieve important things. It was very important to win against our fans and although it was a triumph with many goals, they are important for the classification tomorrow.”
He went on to indirectly credit Dani Carvajal on the right wing for the repeated waves of attacks and elaborated on his feelings about the team.
“We were creating a lot of danger on the outside, and the premise was to remain the same in the second half. The right-wing has created danger and has led to a lot of goals. I am happy in the team and collectively it is important to add three points.”
More important than ever
Joselu began the new season as a backup option in Carlo Ancelotti’s mind. Just four games into the season and he is already one of the players in the forward line with the most limelight.
Vinicius Jr’s injury leaves the manager with few options in the final third. It is clear that the club needs Rodrygo Goes and Joselu to step up, and the Spanish striker has made the most of his chance to this point.
Injured Real Madrid defender will undergo scans tomorrow – report
Real Madrid have started the 2023/24 campaign on a strong note, winning six in six across all competitions.
What makes the streak even more impressive is that they have had to do so without a number of key players present.
Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, Arda Guler and Vinicius Jr are still out on the sidelines while Dani Ceballos and Ferland Mendy have only recently returned from injury.
But, earlier this week, Dani Carvajal became the latest victim of the injury course as he sustained a muscle issue that ruled him out of the match against Union Berlin last night.
Carvajal will undergo MRI tomorrow
Carvajal had been in fine form prior to his injury earlier this week and his absence is certainly a blow.
With a game against Atletico Madrid coming up later this weekend, Mario Cortegana of The Athletic is reporting that the 31-year-old will undergo his MRI scans tomorrow morning.
It should present a clearer picture of the extent of the veteran right-back’s injury following which a potential date for his return could be determined.
Prior to the Union Berlin match, manager Carlo Ancelotti sounded optimistic about Carvajal’s condition, as he said:
“Carvajal has an overload, we prefer not to take any risks. It’s nothing serious, he’ll undergo tests tomorrow and we hope he recovers soon. Carvajal can make it to the derby. The feelings are good.”
But tomorrow’s scans should provide a better picture of how his condition is and when he can make a comeback.
Lucas Vazquez: an able deputy
With Dani Carvajal unavailable, Carlo Ancelotti turned to Lucas Vazquez for the right-back position and the veteran Spaniard did not disappoint last night.
Indeed, the 32-year-old was a regular outlet going forward down the right flank and made six key passes against Union Berlin.
And Ancelotti will count on him again in the derby versus Atleti if Carvajal’s recovery will take longer.